November is just around the next corner. And that means one thing. No, not Thanksgiving. Black Friday. The land of rage consumerism opens up, and we do the annual battle for cheap waffle irons and that one 4K TV Walmart used to trick us into the store.

There is hope, though. REI is bucking the trend of throwing open its doors.

Instead, the company is shutting all 143 stores and paying its employees for the day off. Damn, a company with a CEO that has some sense?

“For 76 years, our co-op has been dedicated to one thing and one thing only: a life outdoors. We believe that being outside makes our lives better. And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth,” CEO Jerry Stritzke said.

Here’s the catch. REI wants you to head outside and snap a photo. Tag it on Instagram with hashtag #OptOutside. Oh, well played. Instead of door busters, REI gets the ultimate in brand recognition for the next month.

REI to close on Black Friday

Which is better? The stampede the inevitably happens every Friday morning, or the mountain of press you get for shutting your stores?

The store is urging other companies to get involved, but I don’t see this being a movement. REI can get away with it. Walmart? Not so much. I know to hit REI if the Snowpocalypse is approaching.

REI is pushing the narrative hard. The company’s site has been taken over by the announcement. Not only do they want the day off, but the company is also urging you to get outside and enjoy the day.

Tag your adventures with #OptOutside. And don’t worry. The deals will still be there on Monday all the way up till Christmas.

What do you think of REI’s move? Sly marketing or pushback against the Black Friday tradition that is spinning out of control?


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